Thomas Pringle TD

Dáil Q: How is Fine Gael attempting to resolve ongoing pay inequalities in primary teaching?

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For Written Answer on : 29/01/2019
Question Number(s): 231 Question Reference(s): 4190/19
Department: Education and Skills
Asked by: Thomas Pringle T.D.
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QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the status of negotiations with primary school teachers in relation to pay equality issues;; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

The public service agreements have allowed a programme of pay restoration for public servants to start. The starting salary for a new entrant teacher in 2012 was €30,702. As a result of the programme of pay restoration, the starting salary of a teacher is now €36,318 and from 1 October 2020 onwards will be €37,692. A teacher hired in September 2011 will see their salary increase from €45,200 in September 2018 to €53,062 in September 2020 under the PSSA agreement and the proposed 24 September agreement.

 

Section 11 of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provides that “the Minister [for Public Expenditure and Reform] shall, within three months of the passing of this Act, prepare and lay before the Oireachtas a report on the cost of and a plan in dealing with pay equalisation for new entrants to the public service.”

 

The report laid before the Oireachtas on foot of this provision by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform assesses the cost of a further change which would provide a two scale point adjustment to new entrants recruited since 2011. The total cost of such an adjustment across the public sector is of the order of €200 million, of which Education accounts for €83 million. The report also acknowledges that, during the financial crisis, there were policy changes which affected remuneration in different occupations across the public sector (including education).

 

The matter of new entrant pay is a cross sectoral issue, not just an issue for the education sector alone. The Government supports the gradual, negotiated repeal of the FEMPI legislation, having due regard to the priority to improve public services and in recognition of the essential role played by public servants.

 

On 24 September 2018, an agreement was reached between the Government and the public services committee of ICTU in respect of new entrant pay.

 

This agreement will benefit 16,000 teachers and nearly 5,000 SNAs within the education sector. The deal provides for a series of incremental jumps for new entrants.

 

These restorations for new entrants have been achieved through continued engagement and collective bargaining between the Government and the public service unions and shows the benefits that such engagement can bring.

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